Antispam Appliances for Your Network - dummies

By Doug Lowe

An antispam appliance is essentially an on-premises server in a dedicated box that you install at your location. The appliance is usually a self-contained Linux-based computer running antispam software that is pre-installed on the appliance. This makes the appliance essentially plug-and-play; you just set it up, connect it to your network, turn it on, and configure it using a simple web-based interface.

When the appliance is up and running, it can provide many, if not all, of the features of on-premises antispam software.

Here are some of the main advantages of using an antispam appliance:

  • Because the appliance includes its own hardware and pre-installed operating system, you don’t have to worry about purchasing hardware separately, installing an operating system, installing software, or any of the other tasks associated with setting up a server.

  • After it’s set up, an appliance will pretty much take care of itself. You’ll need to check on it once in a while, but appliances are designed to be self-sufficient.

  • The appliance may provide other security features, such as antivirus and firewall protection. Thus, a single appliance can handle many of your network’s security and protection needs.

Using an antispam appliance is not without its disadvantages:

  • Eventually, you’ll outgrow the appliance. For example, if the number of users on your network doubles, you may run out of disk space.

  • If the appliance fails, you may have trouble getting it back up and running. When a normal Windows server fails, you can usually troubleshoot the problem and get the server back up and running. Because of the self-contained nature of an appliance, troubleshooting it can be difficult when it’s nonresponsive.